Author(s): Pamela Downe
Collective Care provides an ethnographic account of urban Indigenous life and caregiving practices in the face of Saskatchewan's HIV epidemic. Based on a five-year study conducted in partnership with AIDS Saskatoon, the book focuses on the contrast between Indigenous values of collective kin-care and non-Indigenous models of intensive maternal care. It explores how women and men negotiate the forces of HIV to render motherhood a site of cultural meaning, personal and collective well-being, and, sometimes, individual and community despair. It also introduces readers to how HIV is Indigenized in western Canada and how all HIV-affected and -infected mothers must negotiate this cultural and racialized terrain.
Featuring in-depth narrative interviews, notes from participant observation in AIDS Saskatoon's drop-in centre, and a photovoice component, this book offers an accessible account of an engaged anthropologist's work with a community that is both vulnerable and resilient. Each chapter begins with an ethnographic vignette that introduces central concepts, including medical anthropology, syndemics, kinship, and Indigeneity, with the overall aim of humanizing those affected by HIV in western Canada and beyond.